Today our Off the Road series has entertainment industry chameleon Michael Des Barres. All Things Considered Honolulu Host Dave Lawrence continues the interview series which features hours of conversations and many exclusive musical performances connecting with artists around the world during the pandemic.
Michael Des Barres is a diverse guy. He’s played in rock bands like Silverhead, Detective, The Power Station and his latest project, The Mistakes; he’s acted in films alongside actors like Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier and Clint Eastwood; he’s done a lot of TV, like WKRP in Cincinnati, Seinfeld and MacGyver. And these days he’s on the radio, hosting mornings for Bruce Springsteen guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt’s SiriusXM radio channel.
Michael recently released a live EP of his current band, The Mistakes, recorded live at The Hi Hat, Los Angeles, and we caught up with him remotely at his LA-area home. He told us about recording the new live EP prior to the pandemic, and how he’s been staying busy during the crisis with his radio show, lucky to do it remotely from his house. He took us back to getting his start acting and playing music in the 1960’s, telling the story of how movie execs came to his school looking for talent, which got him into the Sidney Poitier classic To Sir, With Love. He explains how his early group Silverhead attracted the attention of Led Zeppelin, and later how his band Detective would be on Zeppelin’s Swan Song label. Michael told riveting stories about getting the gig to replace Robert Palmer in the Duran Duran/Chic supergroup, The Power Station, including their massive gig at Live Aid, and about his film career, including acting in Pink Cadillac with Clint Eastwood. He also talked about his radio show for Little Steven’s satellite channel.
In addition to our radio feature, we’ve posted the complete nearly hour-long interview, music from the new live EP, and some classic videos.
Hear the complete interview:
See a trailer for the film Michael starred in alongside Clint Eastwood, Pink Cadillac:
Hear his new live cover of the T.Rex classic "Get It On" from his new EP:
See his complete 1985 Live Aid performance with The Power Station: